Monday, April 29, 2013

Mendelssohn's Fantastic Almanac - Hand of Maury

A terrible item of black magic - a candelabra made from the severed hand of an executed talk-show host. It induces chair-throwing rage or tears of remorse from all who behold it.

Monday, April 22, 2013

I've got some thoughts about "Defiance," Rockne S. O'Bannon-

-and Syfy, but I'll save them until next week. I don't want to pass judgment on the pilot alone. But if all goes as expected, I'll be doing some cultural mining of a long-forgotten movie and TV series. Stay tuned.

Mendelssohn's Fantastic Almanac - Bag of Molding

Perfect for most city apartments, but only usable by Level 12 Interior Decorators.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I can see your house from here!

If you're a semiotics nerd, you're familiar with the notion that there are at least three versions of any text: the one the author thinks he's written, the actual aggregation of words, and the story the reader perceives in his head.

There's actually a little less to this idea than meets the eye, but it functions pretty forcefully in speculative fiction. In SF we spend a lot of time describing (and implying, and inferring, and hinting at) worlds and situations that no human reader could ever have encountered in reality. When Ian Fleming described an auction in The Property of a Lady, he knew that there was a certain consensus reality on what an auction would look like, sound like, smell like. That

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mendelssohn's Fantastic Almanac - The Plus None

The Plus None: A magical object that is more trouble than it is worth.

"Didja hear about that new Ring of Immortality Savarnion tried on? It works, but you have to listen to the Allman Brothers Band every day you wear it."

"Ooh, total Plus None, baby."

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Beat-keeping in Mammalian Test Subjects

So psychologists used to think that only animals that could vocalize like humans - us, parrots, and a couple of other bird mimics - could keep a beat.

But it turns out that a bunch of California marine zoologists have trained a sea lion named Ronan to bop to the beat.

The only problem? She really seems to groove to disco.

See it here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Mendelssohn's Fantastic Almanac - Pornomancy

Pornomancy: That school of magic which derives its power from works of pornography...especially the stuff from the '70s with the moody synth music.